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Wildfire assistance resources and how to help (Sept. 23)

Wildfire assistance resources and how to help (Sept. 23)

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Ashley Campbell, 15, of Millersburg volunteers with her mother, Amy Campbell, in the donation area of the  evacuation center at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. 

Here is a list of resources for people who have been displaced by wildfires in our area and people who want to donate money, goods or services to help:

American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency support for fire evacuees: Linn County Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Road E., Albany. Anyone impacted by the wildfires and in need of support can go directly to the closest location or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Livestock can be housed at the Benton County Fairgrounds, 110 SW 53rd St. in Corvallis, and will continue to be supported while their owners make arrangements to return home. At this time, there is no set date for closing down the livestock sheltering function at the fairgrounds. For more information visit www.co.benton.or.us/wildfireresponse.

Apply for federal disaster assistance: State and federal officials are encouraging Oregon residents affected by the wildfires and straight-line winds to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency as soon as possible. FEMA's Individual Assistance program for survivors has been made available in Linn, Marion and other counties. Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. Register at 800-621-3362, disasterassistance.gov or the FEMA app. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to homeowners, renters and businesses. Information: 800-659-2955 or www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Public assistance for emergency work and repair of replacement of disaster-damaged facilities has been made available to counties including Benton, Linn and Marion. All areas are eligible to apply for Hazard Mitigation assistance. Visit FEMA.gov for more information.

Benton County Wildfire Response: Visit https://bentoncountywildfireresponse.recovers.org/ for resources for wildfire victims and for those who wish to help them.

Crisis counseling: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call the Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a trained crisis counselor.

Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool: Producers and landowners can use the online Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, answering five questions to identify U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that will help meet disaster recovery needs. Customers can also download a copy of the new "Disaster at a Glance" brochure. For more information on all USDA disaster assistance programs, visit farmers.gov/recover, or contact your local USDA Service Center, which can be found at farmers.gov/service-center-locator. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, please contact your crop insurance agent.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance: The Oregon Employment Department has announced the availability of DUA for individuals who became unemployed, had their work hours substantially reduced or are unemployed self-employed individuals as a direct result of the wildfires and straight-winds that took place since Sept. 7. Individuals also must not qualify for regular state unemployment insurance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, other extension programs or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits. DUA is available for weeks of unemployment beginning Sept. 13. Benefits will be available till March 20, as long as the individual's unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster. The application must be filed by Oct. 23. Application forms are available at www.oregon.gov/employ/disaster, certain evacuation sites and WorkSource Centers. Further information is available at 503-570-5000.

Displaced animal database: Thousands of Oregonians, their livestock and their other animals are displaced following the devastating wildfires. Many shelters, private groups and citizens are now housing these animals, some of which do not have known owners. While some of these groups are advertising lost animals on their websites or social media, it can be difficult for the public to know where to look. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has created an online database and website to help. The ODA Animal Tracker, https://oda.direct/AnimalTrack, is meant to assist Oregonians looking for animals displaced during the wildfires. This tracker is not intended to replace existing systems already in place at county animal shelters. In order to make the database work, animal shelters, private citizens and groups caring for animals without known owners can email ODA with information and photos. That information will be added to the database and continuously updated. Therefore, owners are asked to visit often if they don’t see their animals listed. If you are caring for animals without a known owner, you can have the animals listed by emailing ODA at animaltrack@oda.state.or.us. The email must include the following information: shelter name and location; shelter phone number; shelter email address; location where animal was found (as much detail as known); species; color; sex; and picture(s) of animals. Livestock photos should show left side, right side, face/head and identifying marks such as brands, scars or ear tags. Pet photos should show the left side, right, face/head and back. If the shelter, citizen or group does not have the means to collect and email this information, call ODA’s Brand Inspection program at 503-986-4685 to request help. It is important to remember that it against the law to keep found livestock. If assistance is needed to verify ownership of livestock, call ODA to request the assistance of the local brand inspector (503-986-4685). County shelter links can also be found on the ODA Animal Tracker for owners to search. County shelters will be responsible for ensuring ownership of animals discharged from their shelter.

Displaced worker virtual sessions on unemployment insurance, health insurance, human services and other community resources: The Beachie Creek/Santiam Fire has affected many employed by Freres Lumber. These sessions are designed for Freres Lumber workers, but any local workers affected by the fire are welcome to attend. Rapid Response teams are available across the state to provide virtual information sessions when a temporary layoff has occurred. Our goal is to help workers temporarily laid off to navigate unemployment insurance, health care options, and community services while waiting to go back to work. Displaced Worker Virtual Session One on unemployment insurance, health insurance and community resources, 1 p.m. Monday, +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782, webinar ID 869 0195 7184; https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86901957184; or simply enter the webinar ID on the Zoom App. Displaced Worker Virtual Session Two on unemployment insurance, health insurance and community resources, 1 p.m. Wednesday, +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799, webinar ID 879 3724 7691; https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87937247691; or enter the webinar ID on the Zoom app. 

Donate or volunteer to help evacuees: Visit https://oregonrecovers.communityos.org.

Donations for victims: One way way to support fire-stricken communities is to provide financial donations to relief organizations actively responding to these disasters. For verified disaster relief organizations, refer to Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster at www.orvoad.org.

Donations for victims: Those interested in helping those who have been displaced and severely impacted by the recent fires can contribute to the Linn County Wildland Fire Victims Fund. Contributions will be used for hotel vouchers and medical needs. Checks can be mailed to the fund in care of the Linn County Fair and Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Road E., Albany, OR 97322, or in care of the Linn County Treasurer, PO Box 100, Albany, OR 97321. Checks also can be dropped off at the expo center. Checks must include the words "Linn County."

Emotional support resources: The Oregon Behavioral Health Support Line is a free and confidential resource for all Oregonians who are looking for emotional support. Call 1-800-923-HELP (4357). You do not need to be in a mental health crisis to call this line. If you need or want help beyond what the line can provide, you will be connected to those services. This can include community-based services such as housing, food assistance or clinical services. Certified interpreters are also available for those who speak a language other than English. Through this number, you can also connect with Lines for Life (linesforlife.org), a suicide prevention organization with specific resources for youth, military personnel and their families, and those affected by substance abuse problems.

Enroll in health coverage: Oregonians affected by the wildfires can use the federal emergency declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to take advantage of an exceptional circumstances special enrollment period. Applications are being accepted at 800-318-2596 and healthcare.gov. The enrollment period could expire as early as Nov. 15.

Find and reunite loved ones: Oregon Emergency Management urges the public to update information on their status with the American Red Cross. Let loved ones know you are safe at the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website. State emergency managers encourage people affected by the fires, whether or not they have evacuated, to register on the site. It is a helpful tool that can bring relief to people looking for loved ones during these fires, and help inform search efforts. Visit https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php.

Food and water for wildfire victims: To donate food, water and other items, reach out to your local food pantry to see if they are able to receive donations. Find food pantries at https://foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org/.

Food replacement benefits: The Oregon Department of Human Services is processing replacement benefit requests for individuals who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and who suffered loss of food due to the wildfires. SNAP recipients who lost or disposed of food that was unsafe to eat can request SNAP replacement benefits. Current SNAP recipients should contact their local ODHS office as soon as possible to find out if they are eligible. Replacement benefits are available to existing SNAP recipients who lost food due to a power outage or home damage. The deadline to request replacement benefits has been extended to Oct. 7. Information: oregon.gov/dhs/offices/pages/index.aspx.

GoFundMe fundraisers for wildfire victims: More than 60 verified fundraisers have been started for Oregon residents affected by the fires. All of them have been added to GoFundMe's centralized hub: https://www.gofundme.com/c/act/oregon-fires.

Health and social services: Call 211 or visit 211info.org to connect with health and social service organizations. These include child care resources, utility assistance, food resources, housing and shelter information and more.

Health Care Heroes Relief Fund: This fund supports Oregon hospital workers who are or become victims of the wildfires. All donations to the fund will be tax-deductible as allowed under law. To donate, visit www.orhealthfund.org.

Immediate foreclosure relief: The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s automatic 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration-insured home mortgages commenced for the Oregon counties covered under the presidential declaration on the date of the declaration. For assistance, call your loan servicer or FHA’s Resource Center at 1-800-CALL FHA (1-800-225-5342).

Information about donating, volunteering, packing and emergency response agency websites: Visit wildfire.oregon.gov.

Locate manufactured home ownership documents: The Oregon Building Codes Division's online system can provide manufactured home owners with information including the record of ownership, if the documents were destroyed in the wildfires. The Oregon Manufactured Home Ownership Document system is available at https://aca-oregon.accela.com/or_mhods. The system allows people to search for their documents and, once they find them, print or email them. If customers need an existing ownership document mailed to them but are displaced from their home, they can call 800-442-7456 or email mhods.bed@oregon.gov and the division can send it to any address the customer wants. The MHOD system also has forms, application forms and other resources. People can access the records without logging in.

Meals for evacuees: It’s On Us Corvallis is partnering with local restaurants, farmers and other producers to provide meals to displaced Oregon residents. Several local restaurant owners are showing community support to neighbors displaced by the fires. IOU is dedicated to reimbursing expenses to whatever extent possible, in an effort to help recoup some lost revenue from yet another economic blow. IOU is asking for donations to support the businesses and producers that participate in donating these meals to evacuees. Donations can be made at https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/itsonuscorvallis. To stay up to date on meal distributions, follow It’s On Us Corvallis on social media.

Oregon Health Plan members: If you have health insurance under OHP and had to leave home quickly due to wildfires, leaving behind important medical equipment or prescriptions, there is a way to get those items replaced.  If you have any trouble replacing things like medical equipment, supplies or prescriptions, your coordinated care organization can help. You can find your CCO contact information at http://ow.ly/jprH50BoEAi. If you’re an OHP member with an open card, call Member Services at 800-273-0557.

Shelter for wildfire victims: The American Red Cross has temporary shelters available throughout Western Oregon. For a list of shelters, go to websitehttps://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery-services/find-an-open-shelter.html.

Technical and financial assistance for farmers, livestock producers and private forest landowners: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers, livestock producers, and private forest landowners recover from the impact of the recent wildfires. As agricultural producers move into recovery mode and assess damages, they should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages. The USDA encourages farmers and livestock producers to contact the Farm Service Agency county office at the local USDA Service Center to learn which documents should be provided to help the local office expedite assistance, such as farm records, receipts and pictures of damages or losses. Depending on the operation, the FSA offers a number of disaster assistance programs to help offset eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Emergency Forest Restoration Program; Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program; Tree Assistance Program; and Livestock Forage Disaster Program. Additionally, producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service also offers programs to help in the recovery process. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program can be used to provide resource protection for areas burned by catastrophic fires. Benefits include preventing soil erosion, minimizing the spread of noxious and invasive plants, revegetating burned areas, removing excess dead vegetation, protecting water quality and restoring livestock infrastructure necessary for grazing management. Producers with Federal crop insurance coverage should contact their crop insurance agent for assistance. Producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days.

Tweet chat to answer wildfire survivors' questions about disaster assistance: Oregon wildfire survivors who use Twitter will have an opportunity to get answers to their questions about disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Association, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Untied Way and Oregon's Department of Consumer and Business Services. The #OregonRising tweet chat is set for noon to 1 p.m. Friday. The handles of participating Twitter accounts are @OregonOEM, @UnitedWayPDX, @FEMARegion10, @RedCrossCasc, @SBA_PortlandOR and @OregonDCBS. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance for farmers: Oregon agricultural and forestry operations have been significantly impacted by the wildfires, and the USDA has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers, livestock producers and private forest landowners recover. As agricultural producers move into recovery mode and assess damages, they should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.

Wildfire response resource information: https://states.aarp.org/oregon/oregon-resources-for-wildfire-response.

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